Sunday, August 7, 2011

Website improvements

I recently took over management of my website from a company that had been managing it for seven years.  Recently, they had become very slow to respond to service requests and sloppy in their coding, so I made the decision to manage the site myself and either do development myself or contract it out when it was beyond my skillset.  Following the change in management, here are a couple updates to the site that I hope you'll like:
  • We've changed the way passwords are reset.  In the past, if you forgot your password, you could simply ask the site to email it to you.  Obviously, that's terribly insecure on so many levels, so we've now implemented a new system in which the site, upon request, will generate a new random password for you and email it to you.  You can then use it to log on to the site and change your password to whatever you want.
  • The second change is really just an improvement on something we've had for a long time.  When you take one of our classes, you receive a certificate of completion at the end of the class.  You can also download a certificate from the site by going to your user profile, choosing "My Classes", and printing a certificate.  In the past, the site produced your certificate using Flash Paper and the formatting looked like crap.  We've just updated it to produce your certificate as a PDF and the formatting looks much better (if I do say so myself).
We'll be making more changes to make the site more functional and secure, so stay tuned.
By the way, one of the big lessons I've learned from this experience is to never let the development company also host the site.  The former development company had installed a number of proprietary, shared scripts that were stored above my site root and which were not accessible to me.  It was just through sheer luck and perseverance that I was able to gain access to those scripts and move my site to my own server. I won't make that mistake again!